Thirty years ago, Brian Wilson was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. It's a dangerously shaky state of being that threatens every facet of life. But for the Beach Boys, the singer's psychosis was also the group's paradoxical saving grace.
This year, the iconic surf band is celebrating its 50th anniversary by hitting the road and tackling major U.S. festivals like Bonnaroo. And for the first time in 46 years, the touring lineup will include principal Beach Boys songwriter and founding member Brian Wilson.
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Five decades ago, the Beach Boys rose to pop culture prominence as an innocent, all-American group of Southern California surfers who wrote songs about West Coast beach life and racing muscle cars. By the mid-'60s, though, the stress of touring proved too difficult for Wilson to handle. And after suffering a midair panic attack during a flight to Houston, he gave up.
As a result, Wilson spent more time in the studio, experimenting with new sounds and complex recording processes. He and the band also started messing with psychedelic drugs. That strange period, however, led to what is perhaps the greatest American concept record of all time, Pet Sounds, thanks to a little craziness, some narcotics, bicycle bells, Coca-Cola cans, and barking dogs.